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~Download Pdf ⚉ On Rocky Top: A Front-Row Seat to the End of an Era ☫ There Is No College Football Team Zealous And Competitive Than The University Of Tennessee Volunteers When Clay Travis, Acclaimed Author Of Dixieland Delight, Decided To Spend TheSeason Up Close And Personal With UT Football, He And Every Other College Football Aficionado Thought He Was In For A Rollicking Ride With One Of The Leading Contenders For The National Title After All, When The Vols Kicked Off The Season On September , The Defending SEC East Champions Were Ranked Th In The Country As Head Coach Phillip Fulmer Prepared For The Game, He Reflected Upon A Coaching Career That Included An AstoundingVictories, Two SEC Championships, And A National Title WithYears At UT Under His Belt As Both A Player And Coach, The Tennessee Native Had Just Signed A Contract Extension That Projected To Keep Him At The University Long Enough To Become The Winningest Coach In Program History But When The Volunteers Lost Their Season Opener And The Losses Continued To Mount, It Became Clear ThatWas Going To Be A Season On The Brink For UT Football By December, The Team Had Suffered Its Second Worst Season Ever, And Fulmer, The Most Beloved And Recognized Man In Tennessee, Had Been Fired Based On Exclusive Interviews With Fulmer, UT Athletic Director Mike Hamilton, University Boosters, Team Personnel, Players And Their Families, And Fans, On Rocky Top Recounts In Vivid Detail How A Season Of Promise Tragically Ended An Era Of College Football Enlivening The Narrative Is A Diverse Cast Of Supporting Characters, IncludingYear Old Good Time Charlie Harris, Who Has Driven The UT Big Rig For AlmostYears Star Running Back Arian Foster, A Fifth Year Senior Striving To Become The All Time Leading Rusher In Volunteer History And Multimillionaire Booster John Thunder Thornton, Who Defended Fulmer Till The End A Lifelong Volunteer Fan Whose Grandfather Played For The Team During The S, Travis Reports From The Locker Room To The Sideline, And Has Created A Fascinating And Loving Chronicle Of An Impassioned State, A Celebrated Football Culture, A Beloved Coach, And The Sensational Collapse Of A Once Mighty Juggernaut An Excellent Read For Vol FansI really enjoyed this book read it in record time It s an excellent read, even essential if you re a fan of University of Tennessee Football If you follow Southeastern Conference football, or college football in general, you ll find it interesting If you don t care much at all for college football, you ll probably want to give it a miss.For the record, I m a Vol football fan Always have been Always will be I graduated from UT in 1979 at the start of the Johnny Majors era In my four years there, I went to most of the Vols home games it was sort of a requirement for those of use who lived on campus, where Neyland Stadium constantly dominates the landscape My years as a student with easy access to live home football games were not exactly the high point of Tennessee football successes I saw a lot of great wins and a lot of bad losses But it was always Tennessee Football with a loyalty that passes a lot of understanding That is the particular part that I thought made the University of Tennessee different what I thought made UT a family We learned to support our school and our teams, not to slink off after a loss like we were looking for the nearest pity party after a lecture on Kafka.As Travis very successfully, and very clearly, points out from a variety of angles the coaches , the players , the trainers , the managers , and even the equipment big rig driver s that is the part that has changed Like it or not, Vol Fans and I m one of those who absolutely detests the development , college football has become a business, a BIG business At major universities in the United States, it has become the business that supports academics, research, project development, and almost every other aspect of the university program So a winning football team meansthan just hoisting the SEC, the TaxSlayer Bowl, or the National Championship trophy.Phillip Fulmer was Tennessee s first victim of this atrocious, but seemingly inevitable, development in college football By all accounts a good and honest man at a time when being a good and honest man meantthan having a single 5 7 season, Fulmer is the second winningest coach in Tennessee football history, second only to the legendary General Neyland His overall record at Tennessee which Travis explains in perfectly clear detail in the book includes the 1998 national championship and would be envied at the end of nearly any coach s career Yet he left the field in 2008 in what the majority of fans, boosters, and donors, seemingly tried hard to portray as disgrace.My favorite quote from On Rocky Top is how one man described the 2008 fiasco They done that man wrong They surely did It s an unfortunate reality in the cut throat world of football business, yet it left UT in a downward spiral that Coach Butch Jones began straightening out six years later in 2014 Brick by brick I don t think that would have even been necessary if Athletic Director Mike Hamilton had done the right thing in 2008 and not pushed the brick house down.But enough editorializing Travis has given Vol fans a good book about a time that is important to understand It s well written, well researched, and enjoyable Even if it does cover a difficult time in Tennessee football history. Being a huge Tennessee Volunteers fan, as well as a 1990 graduate of this fine east Tennessee institution of higher learning, my review of this book is admittedly biased from the beginning That being said, Clay Travis has written a compelling and highly entertaining book on the 2008 season of UT football Unbeknownst to Mr Travis as he set out to write this book, the 2008 season turned out to be one of the most tumultuous and controversial seasons in the past half century, arguably ever in the annals of UT football history Long story short, Phillip Fulmer, who had been a player, assistant, and ultimately head coach of the Vols over the past four decades, finds himself in the middle of a terrible season, which leads to his dismissal by the UT administration The conflict present is should Phil have receivedtime to turn the program around UT fans generally were split 50 50 on this issue, but the book brings forth the angst and conflict that were present leading up to the fateful decision to fire him I would recommend this book to all UT fans, and probably to football fans in general as a lesson on the changing landscape of college football from the year 2000 on.enjoy. The 2008 football campaign is one that most University of Tennessee fans are eager to put behind them and forget about It started off with great promise, only to see it all coming crashing down in a manner of weeks, leading to a free fall that saw the Vols drop from defending SEC East champs to the termination of long time coach Phillip Fulmer.When writer Clay Thomas agreed to write a book chronicling the season of the 2008 UT Volunteers football season, he had visions of a trip to Atlanta for the SEC title game and possibly the chance to celebrate the 10th anniversay for the 1998 national title by competiting for another one Instead, what he got was the story of a season in turmoil and a program at a crossroads And all of that is chronicled in his new book, On Rocky Top A Front Row Seat to the End of an Era Thomas chronicle of the 2008 season from a fan turned journalist perspective is a fascinating one It may be hard for a lot of UT fans myself included to relive the horror that was last year Thomas has some fascinating insights in the book, including one that stated he feltcomfortable in the stands, pulling for the team than he did on the sidelines watching as things unfolded He also examines some of the aspects of the passionate fans both himself and others wondering if they know how the players view the games they play each Saturday and the impact what they say and how they act have on the players Thomas talks to Arian Foster and his family at several points in the unfolding narrative, looking at how Foster entered the season with the chance to become the leading rusher in UT history and ended the season as a goat of sorts and possibly having his chances for an NFL career go up in flames.But make no mistake that the focus of this book is Fulmer Fulmer began the season as the dean of SEC coaches and was facing a crossroads Despite making it to the title game three times in a decade, the Vols hadn t won an SEC title since 1998 He was also bringing in a new offensive coordinator, who was told he would be the next guy with Fulmer decided to retire in a few years.And then the season began with a road loss to LSU and quickly spiralled out of control, leading to the moment when ahtletic director Mike Hamilton felt the time had come to replace Fulmer One interesting chapter shows two boosters and their views on Fulmer and why he should be either allowed to stay and given time to right the ship or why he should be removed as head coach Both sides have some interesting arguements and, in the end, it comes down to a decision of whether to go with your head or your heart in keeping or firing Fulmer Hamilton looked at the bottom line with declining attendance and the lack of a bowl game on the horizon and made the call.The chronicle of what happened is peppered by personal observations by Travis, wondering whye he cares so much about the team and its successes or failures He also examines the growing trend of bloggers and Internet chat rooms, discussing not only Fulmer but also the players and their impact And, along the way, Travis litters in some history of the Vols not only their history as a team, but his own moments that defined him as a Vols fan.Oh and he calls Urban Meyer a midgit wrestler, too Pure gold, if you hate all things Florida.The book weaves in stories of the impact Fulmer had both on the field and and off it And it also makes you wonder if UT didn t sell out the last little bit of its old soul and that of the old SEC to try and become a national powerhouse by hiring Lane Kiffin.If you ve a UT fan, this is a must read But I think the story and observations go deeper than that If you re an SEC football fan or a college football fan, this is essential reading The questions about the cost and price of winning and being a national powerhouse are shaking as well as the implications of the new hires at various schools around the SEC Travis argues that a part of the identity of the South was lost when Fulmer was fired becuase he truly was one of the last of the old guard who attended the school he coached at and cares passionately about the program beyond the wins and losses Again, read the chapters on the trainers or the man who drives the equipment to and from road games to see how Fulmer wasthan just the guy who coached the team on Saturday afternoons and how great a loss his firing truly will be to the UT program long term.Travis asks some hard questions and offers no easy answers in the book But if you want to really get inside the program and understand a bitof all that went on last year, then this is a must read. First of all, On Rocky Top is a better book than Clay Travis s previous outing Dixieland Delight The writing is better, the voice is better, things are just better If you read Dixieland Delight and found it enjoyable and with potential but lacking in maturity level and trying too hard to be awesomely funny, read On Rocky Top Everything is toned way down for the better, without losing completely the author s sense of personality Perhaps this newfound sense of better writing is due to a few years of human growth, the arrival of a newborn son or just the coincidence of picking the most disastrous year ever to follow your favorite team around with close access Whatever the reasons, the change is good.Even if you re not a fan of Tennessee football I m not , you ll be able to relate to this book if you re a fan of ANY team of ANY sport The fan experience is truly universal Especially in hard times of seemingly never ending agony A few of my favorite parts 1 Clay s superstitiousness in overdrive regarding a Chrysler Sebring, 2 the reappearance of Clay s friends that I met during Dixieland Delight proving his circle hasn t changed much in the last few years, 3 Goodtime Charlie, and 4 Lane Kiffin is a snake.I also liked the internal struggle as Clay s fandom comes to know the Tennessee staff and players firsthand The way that putting a human face on the players and coaches makes it harder to be angry at them in times of defeat Inky s story of injury and how awful he feels thinking about his real time reaction in retrospect These moments of fan struggle and caring for the people behind the jerseys are where On Rocky Top really excels. The 2008 Tennessee football season is one that most Volunteer fans would like to forget It was the year we watched our beloved team implode and have the worst season most of us could ever remember It was a season that would, ultimately, end with the firing of longtime coach, Phil Fulmer, and one that was the beginning of a 5 year so far drought of the quality football the Tennessee faithful are used to seeing a drought from which we have yet to emerge So, as one could imagine, reliving this terrible season is not something that makes a Big Orange fan happy However, I rather enjoyed the book, despite the pain it caused me to read it I love Tennessee football and this gave a lot of insight into the behind the scenes stuff that most fans don t ever see It gives you a glimpse into just how much the players and coaches care and it made me ashamed that I was one of the fans calling for Fulmer s head back in 08 I thought that the game had passed Fulmer by and that he couldn t compete One thing I always felt, though, was that he was a class act, and this book didn t change that belief.On Rocky Top is, for all intents and purposes, a fan s love letter to the sports team that has meant so much to him over the course of his life Clay Travis has a great, relaxed writing style and it was strange that, even though I knew the outcome of every game and, ultimately the season and the book, I still found myself getting excited as I read, hoping that he was going to tell me the Vols came back and won It would have been nice if Travis had gotten a Championship season to write about, but as it stands, he still has written a great book, capturing all of the excitement, heartbreak and strength of the team and the fans during one of the most trying times of a sports fan s life. On Rocky Top A Front Row Seat to the End of an Era by Clay Travis Harper Collins 2009 796.33623 was intended to be nothingthan an inside look at the Tennessee Vols 2008 football season It became instead a chronicle of the death march of the era of Phillip Fulmer s tenure as the Tennessee football coach A fine man was fired so that a pencil necked wimp of an administrator could try to demonstrate that he had grown a pair The always touchy football gods have turned away from the Vols ever since karma has assured that every small victory since has been repaid by pain, heartache and disgrace For instance, the former Athletic Director who caused this mess left in disgrace that s good However, he was replaced as the Athletic Director at the University of Tennessee by an Alabama alumni and that s horrible Go Vols My rating 8 10, finished 2009. Painful to read for any dedicated Vols fan, but it was an insightful peak behind the scenes of the disastrous 2008 season One of the things I appreciated about Travis s book is how it ocassionally wrestles with the question, Why do I care so much and gives you a look at how our obsessive fandom affects the actual players as people and their families He also situates the firing of Fulmer in the larger context of the radical change in SEC football over the past few decades the SEC has become a mercenary league ,noting how Fulmer was the LAST SEC coach to have played for his team and grown up in the state his school represents I m certainly on the Lane train as far as my passion for Tennessee football goes, but I do think it is fascinating how the culture of SEC football has changed as the SEC has risen to dominance in the college football world. I liked it. Best quote in the end Phil Fulmer Tennessee coach fired in 2008 after 150 wins represents the final capstone of an era when the SEC went national He is the final man to be born in the state where he coached, the final head coach to be a graduate of his school For better or worse, all of our football teams will be helmed by hired mercenaries now a once regional game has become the nation s pastime CBS and ESPN have turned our teams into national behemoths Yes,people than ever before see our teams play from all four corners of the country and beyond But I m afraid that s going to make the teams feel, paradoxically, further and further away from the way we experienced them in our youth It used to be that the SEC solely belonged to the people of the South No longer.